News from the Provost

April 26, 2019

Dear Kresge Students!

How is your spring quarter going?

I know that for some, the third quarter of a long year can be “burn-out” time, or a time of uncertainty about your plans and next steps. This comes with the territory of the hard work you’re doing—and I don’t just mean in classes, I mean in everything. It’s been a long year for many in our community—some of our families work in parts of the country affected by fire, drought, and flooding. Others’ security, or livelihood, is threatened by presidential and other political rhetoric on gender identity, mental health, immigration, and more—including, this morning, the Pentagon’s mobilization to remilitarize our border with Mexico. And of course many among us experience challenges that can’t fit easily into any summary.  Please reach out to me, or advising or residence life staff, if we might be able to offer you support. And don’t deny yourself the strength that can be found in connecting with your family, friends, and mentors who have earned your trust.

I’m also writing today to share some important announcements! Please read through all four points below —

  1. Summer enrollment opens May 1st.
Have you thought about making progress toward your degree this summer? Summer Session is a perfect time offers a change of pace, a fresh start, and a range of truly exciting small classes that might not fit in your academic schedule in other quarters. You can complete a GE requirement, find an enriching 2-credit class, or even take a class completely online in just five weeks. Kresge’s courses — open to all students regardless of affiliation! — include Writing Lab (65Wl in sessions 1 and 2), Service Learning (12A), Introduction to Grant Writing & National Service (12C), and the Kresge Garden Cooperative (63).
Session 1, June 24 - July 26
Session 2, July 29 - August 30
8-week Session, June 24 - August 16
10-week Session, June 24 - August 31
Information on Summer Session, course offerings, and housing is at (See details on fees, financial aid, and refund policies at this site too.)
  1. Kresge Community Award nominations

We'd like to recognize our exemplary leaders and community members, and we need your help! Please help us identify and please nominate Kresge students, staff, and faculty who have made a positive difference, big or small, in the college or local community. Award recipients will be honored at a reception in the Kresge Provost's House in June. Please remind your friends to nominate as well.

  1. TOMORROW: Fiesta fundraiser benefiting student scholarships at UCSC, including the Reyna Grande scholarship.

This Saturday (4/27), if you or someone with looking for some fancy entertainment, join members of the campus community for live music, free dessert, and a photo booth at the Museum of Art and History in downtown Santa Cruz. Tickets benefit UCSC’s/ Latin American and Latina/o Studies’ Research Center for the Americas, and Kresge’s Reyna Grande Scholarship, so with apologies to those of you for whom this is out-of-reach (a $20 student-donor rate, otherwise $30), we are still trying to help these great causes, by spreading the word.

  1. Why not put the Provost’s Tea and Cookies on your calendar!

Break your usual routine with Kresge’s best open secret — the fast-growing underground phenomenon of tea and light refreshments at the Kresge Provost House. You read that right. Come to chat with and advisor, the Provost, and other students, about how things are going. Or just get some down-time with a good warm beverage and some yummy cookie energy. (We also have a variety of healthy and vegan snacks.) And please feel free to bring a friend! Wednesday, May 15th from 4:00 - 6:00 pm. Come as you are!


Thanks for reading this far (that’s all the required stuff—). I also want you to know, though, that I think every day about the wide variety of paths that Kresge Students have shared with me — both their paths to Kresge, from so many different walks of life, and the paths they aspire to take in their education and future — and although our struggles are wide-ranging and sometimes overwhelming, I’m grateful to be a part of a college that helps so many students overcome obstacles and thrive in their aspirations, and Kresge wants to do even more.

Spring can also be a time of excitement for what’s to come, a time of asking new questions, finding new communities, finding new opportunities to laugh, and unexpected forms of family and friendship. And don’t forget sight of the new growth on the branches of the lovely redwoods and Douglas fir that give Kresge so much of its sense of strength and belonging. This positive side, too, is different for all of us, but in each case, can be an opportunity for renewal. Again, I hope you all feel free to reach out to me, or to an advisor, or another member of our faculty or staff, to share your experiences and your struggles. Please consider making an appointment with me (, or stopping by Office Hours (Tuesdays at 10:30 AM, or Fridays at 10 AM).

My best regards,


Ben Leeds Carson

Kresge College Provost

Associate Professor of Music

Kresge College Office


January 4, 2019

Happy New Year Kresgians, and welcome back!

Don’t skip this email! There are funding opportunities in it! And other opportunities, too—to warm our spirits in a cold January, and set us on the best paths for a year we hope will be full of possibility!

First—mark you calendars for Tea & Cookies! January 23rd and February 20th from 4-6pm — as always, at the Provost residence. This is your chance for a little pre-dinner dessert, or a chance to tell Ben how you liked your first quarter here, or maybe just a chance to relax and feel a change of scene for a little while between your other commitments. Feel free to bring a mug, a friend, or just come as you are.

And you won’t want to miss Media and Society this quarter — in case this wasn’t on your radar before, Media and Society is an extension of our core course, with lectures that build on many of your core experiences thinking about rhetoric, society, power, representation. We’ve got three riveting talks this winter:

  • “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism” with Associate Professor Safiya Noble on February 12th at the Kresge Town Hall at 7pm. Dr. Noble has spoken recently at Stanford University, and at conferences, museums and other universities in England, Germany, Canada, New York.
  • “Telling My Truth: Creative Writing and Journalism” with Reyna Grande on February 19th at the Kresge Town Hall at 7pm. Reyna Grande (Kresge '99) is the winner of the American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the International Latino Book Award, and she recently published her second memoir, A Dream Called Home. In this talk, she'll discuss how creative writing helped her find true representation, a voice, and a sense of purpose in a larger world.
  • Sally Lehrman is the senior director of the journalism ethics program at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. On March 5th she’ll be giving a talk related to her work as director of the Trust Project, an international consortium of news organizations that focuses on transparency and accountability. 7pm at Kresge Town Hall.

Third: I’m thrilled to announce the inaugural year of a new scholarship, which is in honor of one our esteemed alumna, Reyna Grande. The Reyna Grande Scholarship is awarded annually to a Kresge student whose creative work, either in arts departments or in creative writing, is intended to advance the standing and visibility of Latinx culture and history, promote positive outcomes for Latinx communities, or otherwise strengthen awareness and dialogue on Latinx identity. To apply, please click here to read more, and note that the deadline is February 1, 2019.

I also urge you to apply for the following to support your endeavours at UCSC, whether they are artistic, service-oriented, or research-focused:


We also are excited to announce an essay contest for all Kresge College students. You are invited to submit entries in up to two of the following categories for a chance to win a $150 prize:

  1. Write an open letter about what it meant for you personally and/or professionally to hear Jose Antonio Vargas speak at UCSC back in November 2017.
  2. Write an open letter about what Kresge’s Core class has meant to you: criticism welcome.
  3. Write an open letter about what it meant for you personally and/or professionally to hear Martha Mendoza speak at UCSC in November 2018.
    • Each letter must be a maximum of 1 page single-spaced, 12-point font.
    • You can submit up to two entries
  • Deadline: February 15th, 2019

That’s all for now — thanks to everyone who read this far. Have a wonderful winter quarter and keep in touch!


Ben, Sarah, & Beth

Provost | Preceptor | CAPC


November 1, 2018

Dear Cherished Kresge Alumni, Staff, and Faculty,


The deep and broad community of Kresge College has expressed so much sadness in these last few days, to say a very fond farewell to Professor Helene Moglen, who passed away on October 18. The debt we owe to Helene—a professor of Literature and Feminist Studies, Dean of Arts of Humanities, and Provost of Kresge College from 1978 to 1983—is great; not only for her foundational leadership, but in the many years since then, as her voice has returned, reliably, to remind us of who we are, and to help us build strengths in the present and future. She is survived by Sheila Namir, her partner since 2001, whom she married in 2016; her sister Glorya Hale; her sons Eben, Damon and Seth; and her three grandchildren, Dylan, Pierre, and Morgan Moglen. An online guestbook is available where words of remembrance may be read and expressed; donations may be made in her memory to the Center for Cultural Studies at UC Santa Cruz.


In her own testimony, and in that of former Campus Provost Robert Kliger, Provost Moglen was a tremendous force in moving Kresge—always an intense college, and sometimes a troubled one, with a complex and difficult early history—into a new era of openness, connection, and visibility to the larger world around us. And she cherished that work, deeply:


I loved being provost. It really was a way of working with young people very creatively … around the edges of what was possible, and trying to resolve problems in informal ways that made a lot of sense. And at that time it was possible.


Helene gave generously of her time to those who asked. As I began as Provost three years ago, she urged me to work thoughtfully but collaboratively, and offered many gifts of experience in support of that; despite her already long service to this campus, she always wanted to give more. She recognized, to me, the 'storied' Kresge as a thriving center of the most visionary, the most verdant, the most thoughtfully radical, and Romantic commitments to everyday greatness. Yet she understood just as much that we are a place with vulnerabilities and unmet potentials—and happily, a place where the future opens seemingly beyond normal institutional limits.


Professor Moglen was a scholar of, among other things, writing-as-activism, and of conscious pedagogy. No wonder then, that she distinguished herself as a Provost, giving Kresge a forward edge of accountability and justice. In her tenure she persuaded both the American Studies and History of Consciousness programs to reside in our remote woods, and by all accounts, she transported Kresge’s rich aspirational tradition, intact, into a present world that could make sense to a whole, diverse community. A community in which power, with all its flaws and challenges, would at least be visible, open to criticism, and ready for meaningful influence by otherwise marginal voices.


Helene’s contributions to all of UCSC over many years—to the Cultural Studies Colloquium, to teachers’ and learners’ organizing efforts, and in support of public education—were full and vital. She was a scholar and writer of possibly unparalleled richness in our community; at the same time, to her conversations with so many of us, she brought the modest warmth and love of an ever-attentive and unassuming friend. She will be intensely missed, and yet her presence felt, by a community in which collaboration might still truly be possible. Thank you, Helene, for all you have brought to us.


Peace profound,



Ben Leeds Carson

Kresge College Provost


April 25, 2018

Dear friends, family, and alumni of Kresge College!

We're excited to announce a new way to be a part of Kresge’s increasingly vital network of support: The Kresge College Annual Fund.

As many of you know, Kresge’s endowment is perilously small—the smallest among UCSC’s colleges. We are buoyed by generous one-time donations that support specific projects, but each year, to fulfill core missions, we find we must stretch dwindling state funds further and further. We think Kresge students deserve more. So we’re asking you, as cherished Kresge affiliates, and on the eve of our exciting rebuild, to give. Help us restore a tradition of intrepid, participatory education, and put Kresge on a path toward true renewal. Donate today.

Want to learn more about our vision for this new fund? We’d love to have your input.

You’ve already given so much to Kresge, and your commitment to the annual fund can be transformative. We hope you’ll consider contributing.

Adolfo Mercado
Kresge '98
Kresge Alumni Advisory Board Member

Ben Leeds Carson

Kresge Provost


February 27, 2018

Dear Kresge Students,

Tomorrow is Giving Day — a chance for the wider community to make a difference in what we do here at Kresge College.

Kresge lives to educate, and educates to live. One important piece of the Kresge community is the varied energy and inspiration of its cooperative student organizations: the Food Coop, the Garden Coop, the Photography Coop, and the Music Coop. For Giving Day this year, we are asking alumni, and our broader community, to donate to the cooperatives, and specifically to support new student-driven initiatives toward their publicity, development, fora, and educational opportunities.

Please help spread the word about our project with anyone in your network that might be interested in helping out. And ... I don’t make this next request lightly ... but if you feel comfortable doing so, please also consider reaching out to your own family, or giving something small yourself. A large number of even very small donations (even as little as $5) sends a *powerful* message about who we are, and how much we care about our community, to other prospective financial partners in Kresge’s future. Of course, you already give to Kresge in many ways. Your commitment to your fellow students, to our intellectual community, to service and leadership, to our nurturing of compassion, conversations about justice, and our respect for consensus-building and productive dissent—in short your commitment to full participation in our community—is among the greatest gifts we could hope for.

If anyone you know is interested in donating to Kresge’s Giving Day project, please let them know that the time to give is any time tomorrow, February 28th — and it’s tax-deductible. 

We’d especially like to encourage Kresge supporters to donate between 6:00-8:00 p.m., which would put us in the running for a matching donation, if our project receives the largest number of unique donations. And we are sharing updates and links via Facebook and Twitter, so please do follow us if you don’t already!

With appreciation,

Ben Leeds Carson
Kresge College Provost


January 10, 2018

Provost Ben Leeds Carson wrote a letter to the LA Times about the easy stereotyping of UC Santa Cruz: "An education at UC Santa Cruz? We'd all be lucky to have one"


January 7, 2018

Dear Students of Kresge College,


Welcome home to Kresge! And I know I speak for all returning students when I offer a warm welcome the many new transfer students who join our community at the start of this quarter. For decades, Kresge has openly strived to make its newest members the heart of the community. Let’s honor that tradition by hearing their voices and making this just as much their home as it is the home of longtime Kresge citizens.


More than any college at UCSC, Kresge is known for students who take initiative, and who shape their college experience in collaboration with its notoriously passionate faculty and staff. Informally, we're also the “transfer college”—claiming among the highest numbers of transfers year by year, and serving as the host of UCSC’s Services for Transfer And Reorientation Students (STARS). We’re proud that the current president of the UCSC Alumni Council, Kresge alumnus Adolfo Mercado, was also a transfer student, and his continuing involvement in the life of UCSC attests to the importance of the transfer community in making us who we are today.

Now for some important announcements — mark your calendars!

  • Still looking for another 2 credits in your schedule? Try enrolling in Provost Carson’s Kresge 18: Natural History Practicum, a popular course now for more than two years. Despite the official listed time, we’re bumping it forward 15 minutes to Tuesdays at 8:00 AM. That might seem early, but it’s worth it — join us to learn about observing the complex wilderness + human habitat of the UCSC campus. It features 5 amazing guests who take us on some of the best nature hikes you can hope to experience.

  • January 24th and February 22nd, 4:00-5:30 pm (Provost House) — Tea and Cookies. Here’s a chance to break your usual routine to come by my place for a chat about how things are going ... or just get some down time with a warm beverage and snacks. And feel free to bring a friend!

  • January 25th at 7:10 PM (Kresge Town Hall) — Winona La Duke, an activist who “spent years successfully fighting the Sandpiper pipeline, a pipeline similar to Dakota Access” (Democracy Now!), and director of Honor the Earth, promises to be one of the high-points of our Common Ground Center series. Her talk will address Standing Rock, the importance fo divestment campaigns, and investing in the “New Energy Economy.”

  • February 13th at 5:30 PM (Kresge Seminar Room) Martha Mendoza, our second Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist this year—and a Kresge alum!—will be the next guest of Kresge’s Media and Society Series. A contributor to Bloomberg and the Washington Post, Mendoza specializes in reporting on immigration and human trafficking, poverty, the environment, and the economics Silicon Valley. Join us afterwards for a pizza reception at the Provost Residence. RSVP here or email Beth Hernandez-Jason

  • March 6th at 5:30 PM (Kresge Seminar Room) — Conn Hallinan joins the Media and Society Series (see above) to retell the history of journalism, and to invite students to a critical inquiry into our relationship with the news. Conn is a former Provost of Kresge College, a columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus, and a blogger at Dispatches from the Edge.


Finally, as a reminder, the deadline for the Student Project Fund is tomorrow —submit your application to Beth Hernandez-Jason by midnight on January 8th. The second round of applications are due February 8th, so if you’re not quite ready now, you still have time.  


Happy New Year, and please stay warm!


Ben Leeds Carson

Provost, Kresge College | UCSC


Email Provost Ben Leeds Carson at

Archived messages from the Provost:

November 2017 - Annual report

March 2017

February 2017

February 2016

See Also